Outback communities get $7m Internet access boost

Education and training department will assist in the provision of Internet access and computers

The Rudd government has announced it will spend $7 million over four years on improving public Internet access facilities in remote Indigenous communities.

Part of the Closing the Gap initiatives, the announcement was made at the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) event in Darwin, to enable the states and the Northern Territory to better meet the needs of their remote communities.

Greg Moo, CIO of the Northern Territory’s Department of Education and Training, is pleased with the extra funding.

“In the nine communities where this program will be implemented, the department will be assisting in the provision of Internet access and computers,” Moo said.

“This initiative capitalises on the past and ongoing investment that the NT government has made in computers and networks in remote schools.”

Communications Minister Stephen Conroy said improving public Internet access in remote Indigenous communities was a key recommendation of the Glasson Review of regional telecommunications.

“Internet access is an increasingly important tool for communication, education, and economic opportunity and it is important that Indigenous people in remote parts of Australia have access to these benefits,” Conroy said.

The COAGc endorsed National Partnership Agreement on Internet Access and Training Services is expected to begin in early 2010.

Up to 120 communities are expected to benefit from the services over the life of the agreement.

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